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Illingworth House: Chance Child - Part One: 20 - A Serious Rival

Rosemary Braithwaite suddenly realises she has a serious rival for the hand of mill owner's son John Illingworth.

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"Hello," he said, giving her a huge smile. "Fancy seeing you. Can I give you a lift?"

He had taken her by surprise and she was confused and stammered that she was out for a walk, going nowhere in particular. His mind raced to make conversation to hold her there. Her mind raced, too, to stay.

"Like my car?" he said at length. For the first time since he had drawn up alongside her, her eyes left his face. As she let her eyes rove over his car, he gave her the once-over.

She was bewitching! She leaned over the bonnet to look at the emblem on the radiator.

The sun was behind her and accentuated the curve of her breasts and buttocks. His eyes rode those curves but switched quickly back to her face when she stood upright.

She knew nothing of cars but bluffed, saying how beautiful it looked. She liked its colour and shape. He patted the steering wheel with affection saying, "She's a beaut."

Then impulsively, "Care for a run? You'll like her even better then."

He caught her unawares. She didn't know what to say and hesitated. She saw his eyes pleading. "Just a short run," he said.

"I suppose it's all right. I was going out anyway. I wouldn't mind, but I'm not used to cars," she stammered. "Not this sort." The truth was she wasn't used to any sort of car.

She had never been in one her whole life! No one down Garlic Lane owned a car and she didn't know anyone who did.

He was out of the driving-seat in a flash, running round to the passenger side to open the low-slung door for her. Once she was in, he slammed the door to and hurried back to his side. He put the car into gear and they were off, roaring up the lane, leaving her breathless.

"Where are we going?" she asked, vainly trying to hold her streaming hair in place.

Before she knew it, they were at the top of Garlic Lane and turning into the town. It seemed the whole of Keighworth was staring at her when they stopped at the traffic lights and she prayed none of the neighbours had seen her. When they turned green, he turned left into North Street towards Utworth.

"We'll pop in home. The old man's been throwing a garden party this afternoon. There'll be some goodies left and I haven't eaten since breakfast," he said, laughing as they took off again. She laughed, too, when he told her what he and Sydney had been up to. Her whole face radiated happiness when she smiled, and she smiled often as he told his tale. He said he had got out of meeting some rather dull people by arriving late, but he didn't mention Eleanor Rimington nor other guests still at the house.

Only when they drew near Illingworth House did her mood change and she soon came down to earth when they swung into the drive and she saw where he lived. Her heart sank. She said she really couldn't go on. She wasn't wearing the right dress. She hadn't been invited. What would the other guests make of her? Above all, what would his father think?

Sydney Goldstein was already being taken to task by his dad when they got in and Sir Abe was just about keeping the lid on his temper - till he saw Helen Greenwood.

Rosemary Braithwaite was all starry eyed and bubbles waiting for John to arrive. She had hung on until he had returned, despite the fact that her mother was pestering to go as her stepfather was getting more and more drunk. She was glad the Rimingtons had left. She now had a clear run to her cousin and could tell him how marvellous he was. She had spoken of nothing else after the flying display and left Harry Clemence out in the cold. But not for long. He was as surprised as anyone when John Illingworth arrived with a girl from the office. Rosemary was equally surprised and more than jealous. She knew at once that she had a serious rival there.


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